So, not long ago I was talking at length about the SEETA online course on YouTube, led by Jamie Keddie. And I completely forgot to include perhaps the most amazing thing I discovered there. I think you’ll agree that you don’t have to be a fan of M.O.P., or of roughneck mid 90s NY hip-hop in general in order to appreciate the sheer genius involved in syncing this up (Bert’s verse is priceless):
Thanks to Jamie. And to the rest of you, you’re welcome.
Anyways, time for a lesson plan, it’s been a while.
Right then. I was at a loss for inspiration. It had been ages since I’d come up with any new teaching material worthy of posting on $4MT.
But then, thanks to the visit of my main damies (good friends in Pootie Tang speak, if you must know) Danny and Viswas two months ago, I was introduced to the strange and oddly fascinating universe of Neely Comics, and somewhere deep down I knew it would only be a matter of time before I managed to adapt this weird new world to my dastardly teaching purposes. Mbwah, ah, ah… (*maniacal laughter*)
So, I took it upon myself to make a “decaffeinated” version of one of the Professor Brothers videos most ripe for exploitation in the language classroom: “Future Thoughts”. See my tutorial on Windows Movie Maker for the “censored version”. (To Mr. Brad Neely, if you’re reading this: Please don’t hate me, or more importantly, please don’t take legal action against me. Just holler and your boy will take it down.)
It starts with a group activity on describing people from a picture, a little prediction task, a simple little listen and match, a “sentence telepathy” activity with sentence heads, and a debate about what the future holds for us all. And maybe, if you have the means to do so, a “vox pop” type video similar to the one featuring the Professor Brothers, Baby Cakes and other denizens of China, IL.
THE PROFESSOR BROTHERS “FUTURE THOUGHTS” LESSON PLAN
Disclaimer: $trictly 4 my T.E.A.C.H.E.R.Z. accepts no responsibility for any jobs being lost, teachers being fired, students and/or parents complaining, etc., due to use of materials presented here which may or not be considered controversial or taboo. Teachers should use good judgment in choosing materials to be used with each student or group. Just putting that out there…!
Aim: practice speaking about the future – “there will be…”, future continuous, “is getting” + comparative, etc.
Video–See my video about censorship and Windows Movie Maker. The video used in this lesson plan starts at 4:26–if you want, you can download the video and cut off everything before then (watch the first part for instructions on how to do that!)
Pictures from video – (posted here as a slideshow; if needed, you can print out the individual pictures to give to students)
PART ONE – Warm-up / Lead-in
Put students in groups and give each group one of the pictures of the people in the video. On the board write:
FAVORITE HOBBIES: PERSONALITY (good points and bad points):
Tell students to look at their picture and make up information about their person, their name, job, etc.
When they’ve finished, each group shows their picture to the class and explains a bit about their person. (If you like, you can use the Powerpoint in the link above to make it easier for everyone to see the pictures.)
PART TWO – Listening
1. Tell students they’re going to see a video, and that in the video these people are going to talk about the future. What do you think they will say? Each students writes two things. When they finish, they compare with the rest of the group. Are they similar?
2. Give students the listening handout. Tell students to read the sentences in the voice balloons. Are any of the ideas in the balloons similar to the ones they’ve written down?
3. Play the video once. Students watch and connect the sentences with the person who says them. Play the video again and let them check their answers.
In feedback, ask: What did the person in number 1 say? Number 2, etc.
(Answers: 1. “You’ve got hair on your head”, etc. and “Are you goofy-looking?”, etc. 2. “There will be all sorts of new things” 3. “There will be invisibility lotion” and “I think the results of nuclear war will surprise us” 4. “When the aliens come”, etc. 5. “Surprise! I’m a clone!” 6. “The world is getting so much cooler” and “In the future, we’ll all be laughin” etc. 7. “When I was a boy,” etc. 8. “I know what you want, you wanna” etc.)
PART THREE – Lexis (talking about the future)
1. “Experiment is ESP” (For this part of the lesson, you can use the PowerPoint provided, or just write the sentence heads on the board.)
Explain to students that you are going to do an experiment in Extra-Sensory Projection. You are going to think really hard about a word and try to project it into their minds.
2. Show them the sentences from the PowerPoint (or on the board) and try to “send” the word to them telepathically. (Just make some sort of gesture with your thumb and forefinger at your temple and close your eyes for a second or two.)
Ask them if they think they got the message. If not, “try” again.
Tell students to write the sentence they see on the projector (or board), completing each one as indicated–with a verb in -ing, etc. (Basically this is just a trick to spice up an otherwise rather dry personalization exercise.)
When you’ve done each sentence, have students compare. Get some suggestions from each student, then give them the sentences as you have them (Ah, yes, I should have mentioned, you need to complete each of the sentence beforehand. So, it should be something like, “In the future, we’ll all be living in underwater cities”, or “The world is getting so much less interesting” or whatever you like.)
2. Here you can play a version of “Why? Why? Why?”
Students choose one of the statements they’ve written in the “ESP experiment” above and read it to their partner. Their partner then asks them questions such as “Why do you think so?” “What makes you say that?” “Why does that matter?” “Can you be more specific?” “How is that important?” (There’s a slide included in the PowerPoint.) Explain to the students that the more insistent and annoying they are in this game, the better!
Students briefly explain their views. Circulate and ask questions yourself if things flag a bit, then do a bit of group feedback.
3. Now, something I’ve wanted to do with this but haven’t had the means is a “Future Thoughts” video made by the class: with one of them there fancy Flip Mino contraptions, perhaps.
You could put students in a line and have them taking turns saying one of their sentences on camera and maybe answering one simple question like the ones above. The student could then take the camera and ask the next student, and so on. Then at the end you could either do another round with different “Future Thoughts”. This could all be edited down to a video similar to the one in the Professor Brothers video.
Any other ideas?